The “electric wing” DeKalb Seed logo glows above the traditional “winged ear” DeKalb logo during a laser light show at DeKalb Cornfest 2013. This year’s Cornfest was one of the venues at which DeKalb Seed unveiled the new branding and logo, which will be a complement to the well-known “winged ear.”
The “electric wing” DeKalb Seed logo glows above the traditional “winged ear” DeKalb logo during a laser light show at DeKalb Cornfest 2013. This year’s Cornfest was one of the venues at which DeKalb Seed unveiled the new branding and logo, which will be a complement to the well-known “winged ear.”
DEKALB, Ill. — At this year’s DeKalb Cornfest, support was all about roots — and wings.

DeKalb Seed chose the 36th annual Cornfest, one of the last free admission festivals in the area, as one of the venues to unveil its new “electric wing” logo that will accompany the company’s traditional “winged ear” DeKalb Brand logo.

“We’re always going to have a special relationship with the city of DeKalb and, specifically, things like CornFest. You can’t ever get too far away from your roots, and so many people in the area have been instrumental in building the DeKalb brand up to what it is today,” said Rick Myroup, DeKalb brand manager.

Myroup said the DeKalb brand, fresh from a celebration of a century in business, decided to up the wattage by unveiling a companion logo to the traditional “winged ear” DeKalb logo.

“We felt like it was time to change the look and feel of the brand a little bit and start to look forward. We’re a brand that’s been driven by research and development and performance throughout our history,” he said.

The new logo actually is not a logo so much as an identifier that goes along with the winged ear.

“It’s a campaign element. It’s really an activator and an identifier. You’ll see with all of our executions of it this year, the electric wing, as we’re calling it, is really going to surround whatever the core element is of the communication. We want to signify the excitement that’s coming around the DeKalb Brand and the electricity that really drives that forward. It’s a fun new element we can add to the campaign. It’s a great complement to the historic winged ear logo, which we are going to stick with,” Myroup said.

Fun was in plentiful supply at this year’s CornFest, which started 36 years ago as a corn boil and a way for another local agricultural brand, Del Monte, to say thanks to the local community by supplying a quantity of fresh-picked and cooked local sweet corn for free to the public.

The sweet corn boil part of the festival lives on, augmented by a three-day agenda of activities for children and a multi-act musical sound stage that boasts both local and regional talent, as well as nationally-known country names. Josh Thompson headlined this year’s CornFest, along with Back Country Roads and High Infidelity and other acts.

Lisa Angel is the chairperson of CornFest and said the presence of DeKalb the company remains strong in the festival.

“They came down to the festival, and they were overwhelmed to see how much this community still embraces their logo and their roots. What a great place for them to unveil the new logo and let people see what they’re doing. Their tagline — strong past, powerful future — says a lot about the brand and the community they started in,” she said.

For Angel, the news from DeKalb that the company would be a presenting sponsor this year was great news for her and a huge boost to the CornFest itself.

“They really stepped up and became the presenting sponsor of the festival. That’s so important because these are really hard times, and we are one of the last free festivals in the region. For them to choose us and our festival, it allows us not only to show their brand to our guests, but it also allows us to do things we’ve always wanted to do. If you can come down and bring your kids and listen to the bands and get free sweet corn, that’s a huge thing for people. By having DeKalb Seed help us keep it that way provides a huge boost to the community,” she said.

Angel said the laser light show was a hit as were T-shirts featuring the new electric wing and the traditional winged ear symbols.

“To let us have an unveiling of the electric wing was just fantastic. You would have thought we were giving out liquid gold when we were giving out the T-shirts with the electric wing and the winged ear. The bands and our VIPs were seeing those, and they were like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’ve got to get my hands on one of those,’” said Angel, who herself has a direct connection to the brand.

“I detasseled for DeKalb when I was 13, and my sister worked for them. This community grew up working for them or having a family member who worked for them, and it’s still something close to all our hearts.”

Myroup said new things going on at the brand are keeping with the excitement of the new electric wing.

“DeKalb has always been a brand that pushed the envelope as far as technology goes and bringing new technologies to the market,” he said.

As harvest approaches, the brand is highlighting its breeding program with www.dekalb.com/breeding, an interactive site that allows farmers to look at the company’s breeding program and how that program is focusing on the future.

“In addition to that, I’m really excited to go into harvest. We’ve talked to farmers, and they’re really excited about where they think yields are going to come in at. As we do some walks through the field late in the season and look at some of the ears and the plant health at this point, it’s really exciting to think of where we’re going to be,” Myroup said.

Another new development is the DeKalb Ag Ahead platform that allows farmers to get real yield results from local plots.

“It is really an exciting thing to get the message out about how strong DeKalb performance has been this year, and those results are available on our website or through an Apple or Android app — Ag Index — that will notify those signed up for it when a plot comes up with results in their area,” Myroup said.

This year also is the first year that the FieldScripts prescriptive variable rate planting service with the DeKalb brand came online.

“We had 150 different groundbreakers that have utilized that service this year exclusively with DeKalb in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota. It’s going to be exciting to see how strong the results look from that. Early reviews of that product have come in and farmers are talking about how simple it is, how easy it is to really implement and we’re excited about being able to expand that as we go into the 2014 season and having that on numerous more acres and still exclusive to the DeKalb brand,” Myroup said.

He said that involvement of the DeKalb brand with events such as CornFest remain important to both the brand’s past and the future of feeding a growing world.

“As we’ve had the opportunity with the DeKalb brand to sponsor events like CornFest where you’re going to have an ag crowd and a non ag crowd, it allows for us to have some conversations about the benefits of DeKalb corn and how that is serving not just the agricultural sector, but the world at large. You start to think about food production, food security and these are really important things that many people outside of ag may not understand,” he said. “It gives us the opportunity to get increased exposure and to start to have those conversations.”